Front and epicenter

Welcome to Front and EPIcenter, EPIcenter's Energy Incubator and Accelerator spotlight! 
Periodically, a mentor or startup client from our program will share their story about their experiences.

january 2021

Eugene Brotherman - Mentor

For this month’s #FrontandEPIcenter feature🌟 , EPIcenter is pleased to spotlight mentor Eugene “Gene” Brotherman. Gene is a R&D Manager for Itron and has a background in software development and testing. Prior to Itron, Gene worked for the U. S. Air Force where he specialized in assessing vulnerabilities within security systems. Gene’s experiences and expertise have been invaluable to the startups in the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator (EEIA).

Gene is also mentoring in EPIcenter’s
SA Smart Challenge Implementation Training. This program works with the Challenge’s K-12 winning teams to advance their innovative ideas from ideation to implementation.

Gene said, “The SA Smart Challenge Implementation Training hits home for me because my dad was a teacher for over 20 years.” He noted that participating students are energetic and motivated to make their communities and environment better through their innovative ideas.

HERE to learn more about how you can make a difference through EPIcenter’s mentor program.

November 2020

Erco Energía - startup client

Juan Esteban Hincapié, Chief Executive Officer
Juan Camilo López, Chief Operating Officer

EPIcenter is excited to expand its international client base with the addition of Erco DER Services, Inc. -- this month’s #FrontandEPIcenter🌟 feature! Erco Energía is a successful startup headquartered in Colombia and focuses on the implementation and management of distributed energy resources (DER), working with utility-scale systems and photovoltaic solar roofs, electric vehicle infrastructure and energy storage systems. Erco Energía is expanding its operations to enter the U.S. and Texas markets. It has formed a company called Erco DER Services, Inc. that will be headquartered here in our hometown of San Antonio, Texas.

Erco DER Services, Inc. joined the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator this fall. Chief Operating Officer Juan Camilo said, “We want to work with EPIcenter to conduct a full assessment of Erco Energía and create market entry strategies for San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and Houston.” He continued to say, “We believe we can contribute to the growth of SanAntonio with the creation of energy-related job opportunities.”

To learn more about Erco DER Services, Inc. and the services it provides, please read our press release here. Click here if you are interested in learning more about our programs.

October 2020

David Jones- mentor

#FrontandEPIcenter🌟 is back to feature another fabulous mentor, David Jones! David is an attorney whose firm represents startups, entrepreneurs, and emerging companies in areas such as:
brand protection, company formation, startup and growth strategies, investing and fundraising, copyright and trademarks, business and legal agreements, IP protection, privacy policies and more. His expertise has benefitted multiple clients in the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator such as Terra Solar, and EnVault.

Jones notes that “People who start their own business have a different mindset. They are super passionate and their business is personal to them because they are putting everything they have into their organization...the work is invigorating and my greatest joy comes from seeing the people I work with become successful.”

We could not do what we do without the support and passion of mentors like David Jones! Thank you for all you do, David. To learn more about the EPIcenter mentor program visit the Incubator page.

September 2020

Terra Solar- startup client

EPIcenter has another great startup to feature in this edition of #FrontandEPIcenter🌟, Terra Solar! Terra Solar aims to increase the accessibility of solar energy through its Solar Canopy, which providesoff-grid power and can be assembled by a non-professional without an electrician.

Terra Solar and its founder, Dr. Jennie Yoshimoto, have been in the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator since June 2019. She has been “impressed with EPIcenter’s commitment to their clients’success. They help startups succeed by investing heavily in the people within each startup.”

Along with the progress Terra Solar has made in the EEIA, Terra Solar has also recently been recognized in multiple pitch competitions. It was selected to move on as a semi-finalist in the Department of Energy’s American-Made Solar Prize, which came with $50,000 for further development of a prototype, and was featured in an article by Distributed Energy. Terra Solar was also selected as one of three finalists in the Texas State New Ventures competition and was awarded $20,000 in non-dilutive funding and access to the Texas State STAR Park. EPIcenter could not be more proud to have Terra Solar as a client.

“Our EEIA coaches and mentors have been able to anticipate our needs and provide us with the resources for each next step in our development,” Dr. Yoshimoto said when asked how EPIcenter’s program has helped them grow their business.

To learn more about the EEIA and to apply visit the Incubator page.

February 2020

HARC Pythias - startup client

EPIcenter is proud to be working with the Pythias team out of the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) and to feature them on #FrontandEPIcenter🌟! Pythias is a climate risk analytics company with the mission to reduce the physical climate risk to our energy infrastructure through a systems-based decision optimization software solution.  

Because their software is focused on the energy sector, the Pythias team felt it would be best to work with an incubator program with expertise in the industry. As one of the few energy-specific programs in the country, the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator (EEIA) was a clear choice.

Pythias entered the EEIA in the pre-incubation program and worked to validate the business value of their innovation and create a pitch deck. They have now graduated from the pre-incubation program and are moving into the incubation program, where EPIcenter will continue providing support as they launch their business. One of the most helpful exercises Pythias has gone through was their first practice pitch, where the mentors, coaches and subject matter experts EPIcenter brought together gave constructive feedback about their idea and its business value. 

Thinking about applying for the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator? The Pythias team says, “definitely go for it! EPIcenter has a great set of staff, mentors and coaches. We would not be as developed as we are now without their support.” 

To learn more about the EEIA and to apply visit the Incubator page.

December 2019

Envault - startup client

Jose Flores
Nestor Falcon
Matthis Herera
Robert Brothers

Our startup client, EnVault, is this month’s #FrontandEPIcenter🌟 feature! EnVault is creating a power-pack that can replace traditional gas-powered generators to make portable power cleaner and more convenient. Looking to replace the larger generators used for utility vehicles, RVs and even food trucks, EnVault is focused on making not only a green product, but one that also reduces consumers’ cost.

While there are many incubators and accelerators to choose from, EnVault chose the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator (EEIA) because it focuses on modern-day, energy-based solutions. Of the decision EnVault said, “we chose to go with who we felt would not only instruct us in which direction to go, but actually guide us.”

 To startups thinking about applying to the EEIA EnVault proposes,“Know that if you’re joining EPIcenter you are joining a group that wants to build you and your venture up. So, try to relax a bit and bring what you got. But, bring it with a passion.”  

EPIcenter is very proud that EnVault, a recent graduate of EPIcenter’s Pre-incubation program, won the Geekdom Community Fund competition on December 13! After being chosen as a finalist, they competed against five other startups for the $25,000 prize.  EPIcenter is excited to continue to work with EnVault as they enter EPIcenter’s Incubation program.  

Thinking about applying for the EEIA? Visit the incubator page for more information and apply today!

August 2019

Nils Frenkel - Mentor

#FrontandEPIcenter🌟 is back with a mentor spotlight this month on Nils Frenkel! Nils is a Director with Navigant Consulting’s Energy practice. He has experience working with software-as-a-service companies, consulting organizations, and startups. With this background, Nils was a perfect fit to work with EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator client Morton Gestalt, who is developing a smart platform that compares the energy models of building designs to real-world usage data.                          
Nils enjoys working with startup companies, asking questions, and bringing new perspectives to help them think through how to grow their business. “Try mentoring! It’s a rewarding experience to support these founders and help them succeed,” Nils said.                  

We appreciate all the hard work Nils and all our mentors do. If you are interested in becoming a mentor visit the mentor page.

June 2019

Go Smart solar - Startup Client

This month’s #FrontandEPIcenter🌟 features EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator startup client, Go Smart Solar, founded by Jason Pittman and Robert Miggins! Go Smart Solar aims to make solar energy as accessible as possible by developing innovative programs to lower the price and improve the user experience. Their newly launched program, Big Sun Community Solar, in conjunction with CPS Energy, allows residents to purchase solar panels on top of solar carports across the city and receive credit on their bill based on the energy produced by the panels.

“If you’re in the energy space, the EEIA has unparalleled insight into the industry and market through their members and global advisors,” Go Smart Solar said to startups considering applying for the EEIA.

The next application deadline for the EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator is September 8. Visit the incubator page for more information and to apply.

May 2019

Gautam shringarpure - mentor

Our first #FrontandEPIcenter🌟features mentor Gautam Shringarpure! Gautam manages the Corporate Finance Analytics and Debt Management teams for CPS Energy. His expertise is invaluable to startups navigating early financial decisions. “The EPIcenter Energy Incubator and Accelerator is a great way to match my skill set with startups on the cutting edge. It’s exciting to be part of the process,” Gautam said.

Gautam enjoys the collaborative nature of the incubator, not just with the startups but also between mentors. Startup client Morton Gestalt said, "Gautam asks great questions. With his mentoring we’ve been able to identify the financial metrics that track our health."

To potential mentors Gautam says, “Absolutely go for it! This is fun!  You can impact the future of energy, help young businesses, and help create jobs.” Thank you to Gautam for volunteering his time and talent!  Mentors like you are the backbone of our program.

If you are interested in becoming a mentor visit the mentor page for more information.